Well I did it, I finally went to Death Valley and it was nothing like I thought it was going to be.
In my conquest to go to all the major national parks within a somewhat reasonable proximity to where I live I finally ventured to Death Valley. Based on all the pictures I’ve seen of it, it’s nothing like I expected. It’s a lot more mountainous and diverse than I thought. There was everything from flat desert to super tall mountains and everything in between, except no lakes or rivers. What I definitely didn’t expect was to have a small patch of civilization and cell reception at Furnace Creek where I stayed.
While were on the topic of civilization: The food is overpriced and kind of sucks, the resort wasn’t bad though. If you can, bring your own food. The rooms will most likely have refrigerators, you’ll thank me later.
Just like my last trip I took I wish I would have done a little bit more research on certain things. Like not every road is paved and requires an SUV or off-road vehicle. They actually have Jeep Wrangler rentals across from Furnace Creek Resort which they rent out for full or half days. I have a Dodge Charger, which is the opposite of an off road vehicle. Highly recommend bringing a 4×4 vehicle if you have one.
My car actually got stuck on the side of the road in the dirt on the way up to Dante’s View at 6:30 in the morning and of course there was no cell reception. Lucky there was a really nice park ranger going down the mountain who took me back to my hotel. They’ll probably never read this but I want to give a huge thanks to the two random guys from Atlanta who drove us back up the mountain to help me push my car out of the dirt. I’d probably still be there if it wasn’t for them. Unfortunately I was too caught up in the moment to get a picture of the whole thing. I also didn’t have my camera on me for Dante’s view. Only had my cell phone and it was probably one of my favorite spots in Death Valley… Big oops.
Another big oops was misreading a physical map and driving 2 hours out of the way to go to Ubehebe Crater. The 190 highway isn’t just one highway, it splits into multiple so it’s kind of confusing because they’re not labeled. However the drive is super beautiful so it wasn’t a total loss. We did manage to go to the Mesquite Sand Dunes on the way back and it’s pretty awesome. If you go to the dunes plan to be there a good 2 hours+ because as you go further to reach the area without random bushes growing on everything it gets harder to climb them. It was close dark and a storm was coming so I had to turn around before I made it to the “good dunes”.
Pro-Tip: Get some gaff tape or paper tape and tape up your camera so all the fine grains of sand don’t get in your camera or lens.
I was most excited for this and I didn’t get to go. Apparently this is Death Valley’s biggest attraction… moving rocks. If you want to go there you absolutely NEED an off-road vehicle or an SUV/truck with big tires. The roads there will eat your tires if you try to go with anything less than a 4×4 SUV. I didn’t know this before I went and I didn’t have enough time to rent a Jeep to go there. But I shall return and see the moving rocks one day!
Would I go back? Yeah I would, just not any time soon. The only time of year to go there is winter and spring when the desert blooms are there. If you go during summer, basically prepare to die because it can get over 120 degrees.
Places I went:
Bad water Basin
Devils Golf Course
Mesquite Sand Dunes
Devils Corn Field
Canon 16-35 F/2.8L
Canon 70-200 F/2.8L
Think Tank Trifecta 10
Tiffen Circular Polarizer Filter
Tiffen 3 Stop ND Filter